I started my career in game development by creating pixel art to modify games, so it's an artform I think of very fondly. There exists a feeling that there's a "correct" image you're moving towards, pixel by pixel, and a rhythm from the pixel grid that's very pleasing to the eye. I think this focus on grids has really informed the way I do a lot of things, especially graphic design.
Dwarf Fortress is a difficult game to learn and the intimidating visuals discourage many from ever trying. I designed Jolly Bastion to drastically overhaul the atmosphere while improving the readability of the game through a sensible visual hierarchy. The limitations of DF give us only 16 colours and 255 non-overlaid tiles to represent thousands of plants, animals and minerals.
A playful font and manual anti-aliasing grant a softer look to the game. Sticking to the shapes of the original ASCII gives maximum readability to silhouettes. A delicate combination of natural colours and hue-shifted shadows in tiles achieves a look of warmth. A complex per-tile inversion of tone grants visual depth to caves and terrain.
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